Lions send strong to team to national track & field championships

The York Lions may not be the biggest team at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Track & Field Championships but the University still has plenty of medal possibilities at the nationals.

Eighteen athletes will represent York at the 2007-2008 championships at McGill University in Montreal, Thursday through Saturday, March 6 to 8, and head coach Colin Inglis is optimistic about the Lions’ chances.

“Looking at our roster we’ve got this weekend, we’re a young team that is led by some veterans in their final CIS championship,” Inglis said. “Everyone we’re bringing is looking to vie for a spot in the final or a spot on the podium.”

Eight York individuals or teams are ranked in the top five in the CIS heading into the meet.

Last year, the Lions also brought 18 athletes and tripled their medal haul from 2006, bringing home six medals (one gold and five bronze). The men finished sixth overall last season for their best result since they finished fourth in 1999-2000. The women placed 12th, six spots better than in 2006.

Kristen Matthews of the York Lions Track & Field TeamThe Lions captured five golds, three silvers and one bronze at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships this season as the men finished fourth and the women finished fifth.

York’s only CIS gold medallist from last season is back – high jumper Kristen Matthews (right). She is looking to round up her career with a fifth consecutive victory at the nationals. York’s other returning medal winner is Randolph Fajardo, who took silver in the 4x200m relay. He’ll compete in three events this weekend – the 60m, the 300m and the 4x200m.

Here are some Lions athletes to watch this weekend:

Tyrone Halstead (60m, 4x200m)

  • Named OUA rookie of the year after winning all five of his events this season
  • Ranked second in the country in the 60 metres, with a top time of 6.76 seconds (a meet record at the Windsor Team Challenge).
  • Finished ninth in 100m at Pan Am junior championships last summer in Brazil

Randolph Fajardo (60m, 300m, 4x200m)

  • Ranked fourth in the country in the 60 metres
  • Part of a 4x200m relay team that is ranked fourth in the CIS
  • Won silver at nationals with 4x200m relay team last season

Ryan Finn (600m, 1000m, 4x800m)

  • Ranked fourth in the country in 1000m

David St. Bernard (triple jump)

  • Ranked first in the country in the triple jump with a top jump of 14.70 metres.
  • York’s male rookie of the year in 2003-04
  • Canadian junior decathlon champion in 2004
  • OUA champion this season
  • Competing in triple jump for just second year

Chris Theriau (60m Hurdles)

  • Missed the podium at CIS nationals by two-hundredths of a second in 2007 and one-hundredth in 2006
  • Ranked second in the country in event this year after winning OUA championships in 8.16 seconds
  • Semi-finalist in 110 metre hurdles at Pan Am junior championships in Windsor in 2005
  • Two-time silver medallist at 110 metre hurdles at Canadian junior nationals
  • Kristen Matthews (high jump)
  • Looking to win event for fifth consecutive time at national championships
  • York’s female athlete of the year in 2004-05
  • Finished 11th in high jump at World University Summer Games in Turkey in 2005
  • Ranked fourth in the country this season

Heather Hamilton (pole vault)

  • Ranked fourth in the country in event
  • Finished seventh at CIS championships last season

Megan Edney (shot put)

  • Opened season with two golds in weight throw at shot put at Christmas Open
  • Won bronze at CIS championships in shot put in 2004 and finished third in 2003.
  • Out of school in 2005-06 and 2006-07
  • Ranked fifth in shot put in country this year

Submitted to YFile by Mike Koreen, sport & recreation information officer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health.